The story of Moses leading the children of Israel out of Egypt is well known. He was born a slave in Egypt himself, but was actually adopted and raised by Pharoah’s daughter. Eventually when he identified with his own people he was forced into the wilderness until called by God to return and deliver them.
With powerful signs and miracles he demonstrated to all of Egypt that his God, Yahweh was the superior god, and that He wanted them free to worship Him! So they began the long journey back to the land that God had promised to their ancestral father, Abraham.
Our story from the Bible begins in Numbers chapter 13, where 12 men were sent to spy out the land they were to possess as their own. The land of the Canaan was described before as “a land that flowed with milk and honey,” and after 40 days of exploration, the spies agreed: this place was truly rich in resources and to be desired. With great enthusiasm they brought back samples of pomegranates and figs, and a cluster of grapes so large it took two men to carry!
There was something else to report. Besides the Amalekites, the Hittites, the Jebusites, the Amorites, and the Canaanites, they saw the sons of Anak. These people were so large and fearsome that some of the spies tried to warn the rest of Israel and persuade them to give up on the Promised Land.
Only two of them, Joshua and Caleb believed that they could take the land. The rest even exaggerated the threat. They claimed that they were like grasshoppers in the eyes of the giants, and that they saw themselves as grasshoppers also!
As fear began to spread throughout the camp, the majority of the peoople considered abandoning their quest and returning to Egypt!
“Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of Israelites, and Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among the scouts who had searched the land, rent their clothes, and they said to all the company of Israelites,
‘The land through which we passed as scouts is an exceedingly good land. If the Lord delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land flowing with milk and honey. Only do not rebel against the Lord, neither fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. Their defense and the shadow [of protection] is removed from over them, but the Lord is with us. Fear them not.’ “
(Num 14:5-9 Amplified Bible)
Because those with faith were so outnumbered by the fearful, only Joshua and Caleb would live to see their people inherit the land we now call Israel. The rest died out during the next 40 years and a new generation was prepared to follow Joshua and Caleb back in. When they did go, in obedience to and with the help of their God, they were not devoured by any giants at all. As long as they were devoted to Yahweh, they were brave and victorious. Faith won out over fear!
Are there any “giants” in the land you hope to occupy? Are there obstacles in your path to fulfilling God’s purpose for you and your family, your church?
Are there giants of deception, temptation, fear, worry, discouragement, hatred and resentment that appear to be more than you can handle? Does our enemy, the devil seem so powerful that our cause is lost, that we are like tiny insects trying to defeat dinosaurs?
Jesus told His disciples that they could do nothing without Him. This is precisely true. So some feel that they are being humble and that others are arrogant to think that the Church of Jesus Christ could crash down the very gates of hell! The fact is that God is looking for those whose faith is not in themselves, but in His purpose and power. “With God ALL THINGS are possible!” (Matthew 19:26, Mark 9:23, 10:27).
The 10 unbelieving spies were not commended for their humility. Neither should we commend ourselves for exalting our weaknesses, our sinfulness and our failures as opportunities for God’s Grace. He gives grace to the humble who trust in His promises of victory over all these things!
Not only do we have personal giants to overcome, but there is great evil in this world that threatens our families, friends and associates. Our neighborhoods and towns are under constant attack by gigantic and powerful forces of immorality, death and destruction. Believers in Christ are instructed to hold up His Light that lives within them as a city on a hill. We do this by living lives of personal victory but also by living fearlessly in a world that is hostile to our faith.
This story and many others in both the Bible and the history of Christianity are so important to me. So many terrible things are happening in our world every day. It would be easy to withdraw from the battle, but the testimonies of the faithful who have done their part to shine His Light challenge me. Not only has there been missionary outreach, but the development of orphanages, schools, hospitals and many other positive changes have taken place in the world by people who were not scared off by the giants who tried to intimidate them.
The giants in the land were real back then, and they are just as real today. It would be foolish to deny this fact. But it would be equally foolish to miss the truth that has proven to be true from the dawn of time. Our God is greater than any other force in this universe, and His desire is to fill us with Himself. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us, for greater is He who is within us, than he who is in the world! (Philippians 4:13, 1 John 4:4).